Remote access companies in legal battle

Two remote access service companies, Citrix and WebEx, are embarking on a legal battle over a range of domain names

Internet conferencing company WebEx is attempting to sue competitor Citrix for alleged trademark infringement, unfair competition and cybersquatting.

WebEx claims that Citrix purchased a number of domain names similar to a remote access service called MyWebExPC, which WebEx launched last month, with the aim of "illegally diverting" potential customers. WebEx said that MyWebExPC competes with Citrix’s remote access service GoToMyPC.

"The facts are not being disputed," Praful Shah, vice president of WebEx, told ZDNet UK. "If it only happened once, fine. But this has happened on a huge scale."

In a press release published on Thursday, WebEx said it had filed a lawsuit against Citrix and related parties in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

"The complaint asserts claims for trademark infringement, cybersquatting and unfair competition, and alleges that Citrix unlawfully purchased numerous domain names containing WebEx trademarks. The complaint alleges that many of the illegal domain name registrations were purchased on the same day that WebEx launched the new MyWebExPC service at mywebexpc.com, a service which allows customers to remotely access computers and which competes with Citrix’s GoToMyPC products," said WebEx.

A Citrix employee confirmed that WebEx's statement containing details of the law suit was accurate. An official spokesman for the company later said, "We maintain a policy of not commenting on ongoing litigation."

WebEx was less circumspect. "Citrix seems to be clasping at straws and is worried about losing customers. Simply put -- the WebEx service is free and Citrix charges $19.95 a month," said a WebEx spokesman.

A search for domain name registrants on Web site Whois.net showed that "Citrix Online" had registered the following domain names: webexpc.com, mypcwebex.com, mypcwebx.com, my-webex-pc.com, mywebxpcfree.com, mywebexpro.com, and mywebxpcpro.com. It wasn't clear when these were registered. Citirix's remote access service, GoToMyPC.com, was also registered to Citrix Online.

WebEx said it was filing the lawsuit to stop unlawful activity, and is seeking damages and attorneys fees.

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